Indoor Ag Gets A Boost

Aug 6, 2021

Tech-enabled tomato farms, Growing Centers, and AI robotics systems – it’s the indoor agriculture trifecta.

Sustainability-focused fund manager Equilibrium Capital recently invested $91M in AppHarvest, an indoor farming company. The goal? To build no less than 12 indoor farms by 2025. A construction loan for a tech-enabled indoor tomato farm in Richmond, Kentucky, is included in the deal.

A soundbite: Equilibrium CEO David Chen said his firm has “institutional expertise in controlled environmental agriculture, which makes AppHarvest a natural partner as they work to drive positive change in agriculture to ensure food security sustainably.”

This is after AppHarvest completed a reverse merger with Novus Capital and went public in February at a $1B+ valuation.

With the leadership kicker: AppHarvest also snagged former Amazon exec Mark Keller in July to join the team and build out the company’s AI-powered harvesting robot, Virgo.

Speaking of indoor farming, German vertical ag startup Infarm is also expanding in Canada after strengthening its partnership with food retailer Sobeys. The company will build “Growing Centers” complete with multiple 25 square-meter modules—which can produce the equivalent of 10,000 square meters of farmland.

Oh, and this: Singapore-based Augmentus also raised seed funding for a “no-code” indoor farm robotics platform.